Sunday, November 12, 2006

Starting up a new blog (including making an account)

If you want to keep your blogging identity seperate from your regular identity (for whatever reason) then the first thing you shoud do is to sign up for a free email account. I recommend either gmail or yahoo mail for this since you get more features than with hotmail.Gmail requires an invitation, however, so is less easy to set up.

Once you have the email account you want to use you can go sign up...

Go to

Blogger currently has two forms of blog – the old style and a new kind it is calling beta – it doesn't really matter which you use in the long run and new accounts have to be in the new one – so that's what we get...

Also – your first blog should be a throwaway blog – one that you make just to have fun with and practice on – that of course can remain your main blog but if you want to do something serious with your blog this will allow you to make mistakes somewhere else.

  • At the start page for blogger, click on the orange arrow that says "create your blog now."

  • The form you need to fill out to register for the site is very similar to the forms you need to fill out to get a free email account. You need an existing email address for this to work – a real one you already have.

  • You also need to read the word verification carefully to get it right – these are designed to stop computer programs automatically registering for millions of blogs.

  • Remember your chosen email/username and password – in fact, write them down right now.

  • The next page is where you set up your first blog – you can have many blogs on one account.

  • You will need two kinds of name – the first is like the title of the blog and can be whatever you want – it does not have to be unique – BUT...

  • You also need a unique name that will be part of the URL or web address of your blog – and you usually want that to be similar to the title.

  • There is a link to test if one of these unique names is really available – so use that until you find a name you are happy with. THEN go back and fill out the Title

  • Again, the word verification...

  • Now you can pick a starting 'template' – this is the design for you blog – you can change it at any time WITHOUT losing your words, data or work, so just pick the one you like best for now and don't worry about it...

After waiting a few moments, you should get a screen that says your blog has been created. Good for you! Click on the "start posting" arrow and get to work!

But...before you post there are a few settings you want to change that will make you blogging life better and easier in the long run.

So click on the tab at the top that says 'Settings'

Some of the basic settings that show up are important.

Eventually you will want to put in a description but you do NOT need it to get started.

You do want to think about the 'add to listings' question – if you say yes then google will index your blog and people will start to be able to find it by doing searches. If you say no then the blog will still be on the internet but YOU will have to tell people how to find it – it is a more private way to do it.

The other settings can stay the way they are – and remember to click the orange save settings button at the bottom if you make any changes.

Next – the Publishing settings tab – only one thing to change here – the 'notify' option – again – all depends on how public vs private you want to be.

For now you don't want to change anything under formatting.

The nest stop is the 'comments' tab – there are a lot of options here but for now perhaps the only important one is whether you want visitors to comment or not – again completeley your choice.

Finally, for the truly paranoid, the permissions tab lets you make your blog truly private.

OK – now we are ready to go...back to the posting tab

  • Type your post – you can use the buttons above to add other elements or formatting – like a simple word processor.

  • The posting screen for blogger is pretty straight-forward. Give your entries a title, type in the appropriate window, and use the editing tools for your blog entry as you want. If you know any basic html, you can incorporate most of that code into your blog posts.

  • To post or "publish" your post, click the button at the bottom of the screen "Publish Post." If you start writing something but you don't want to post it until later, click where it says "Save as Draft."

  • When you publish your post, blogger will process the information and then, if everything worked (and it usually does), it will give you the option to "view blog." Take a look at it; you should notice a couple of things:

  • The address for your blog-- something like is the address for your blog. This is the address you should tell readers about to read and view your blog!

Now comes the fun part – playing around! We will try to change the template a little to make it more like what you would want for yourself – including colors and layout.

We will look at other blogs to see some things we like...and if we can figure out how to do them on our own blog.

Good, simple, get you going articles

These articles are pretty good alternative explanations of how to get started with Blogger and blogging. Remember that Blogger changed the way it works to set up accounts and operate your blog very recently - that means some of the information in these articles will be out of date.

This is a common problem with blogs - all of the blogging tools you end up using are likely to change and update pretty frequently and without notice - meaning there is something else new for you to learn!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Blog tools

These tools are actually rather advanced - feel free to explore and learn about them but you probably won't want to use them until you are more comfortable with blogging in general.





CSS ZenGarden:



Help: Food Blog Scool:


Some Good Example Blogs

Before we go any further, let's take a look at what is possible.

An interesting cross-section of blogs that are popular/interesting/unusual

Real Live Preacher:

31 Flavors of blog:


Talking Points Memo:

Contrary Brin:

The presurfer:

Arts & Letters Daily:

Rebecca's Pocket:


She Finds:



Chocolate and Zucchini:

Get Rich Slowly:


Paperback Writer:

Build A Better Blog:

Maud Newston Blog: